Educational Sessions

Following the keynote, you will have access to a new batch of education sessions, uploaded to myPSBA each day. Watch immediately or later at your convenience!

Be sure you have your myPSBA login information on hand so you can access the recorded education sessions that are a beneficial part of the conference. Visit this FAQs page for guidance on logging in, including a tutorial video on how to reset your password if you have forgotten it. For additional support with logging in, contact for assistance.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Finding Strategic and Financial Certainty in Uncertain Times

Presenters will provide a panel discussion focusing on how school boards and administrators can leverage the expertise of their leadership team to maintain a strategic vision to implement necessary changes for student and operational success during uncertain times.


  • Michael Roth, superintendent, Upper Moreland School District
  • Lindsey Stock, senior director of programs, Upper Moreland School District
  • Michael Lutz, senior director of service, Upper Moreland School District
  • Matthew Lentz, chief financial officer/board secretary, Upper Moreland School District

Accelerating Innovation: IU (Intermediate Unit) 13’s Model for Leading Personalized Learning

In 2021, the Consortium for School Networking identified personalization as the No. 1 accelerator of K-12 innovation and featured IU 13’s Personalized Learning Academy (PLA) as an effective professional learning model. This session will share IU 13’s PLA, which strategically builds the capacity of administrators, teacher leaders and professional staff to plan, implement and sustain personalized learning. #WorkWorthDoing


  • Lauren Beal, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13
  • Jennifer Bean, teaching and learning consultant – literacy, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13

Strengthen Arts Education Post Pandemic (and How to Fund It)

The arts now play a stronger role for students’ social and emotional needs than ever. We will discuss the value of the arts, offer some ideas, and most importantly, talk about how to pay for those ideas. Plus, we will provide an update on student opportunities offered for students by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.


  • Mark Despotakis, director of public and government affairs, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association
  • Dorie Martin-Pitone, director of teaching and learning, Marple Newtown School District

The Case for a Mentor Coach

The superintendent’s role is complex. The turnover rate is high. Multi-tiered support from an experienced superintendent can increase the competencies of a new career superintendent. Attend this session to learn what mentor coaching is and how it can enhance the performance of new superintendents and their schools.


  • Dr. Mark DiRocco, executive director, PA Association of School Administrators
  • Dr. Khalid Mumin, superintendent, Reading School District
  • Connie Kindler, consultant for professional development, PA Association of School Administrators

Credentials: Students Earning Valuable Currency for the Marketplace

Industry certifications and credentials are valuable currency in today’s marketplace. Career and technical centers (CTCs) prepare tomorrow’s essential workforce through promoting industry credentials so that students graduate with bona fide workforce currency. Learn how CTCs help students, school districts, the community and the commonwealth prepare young people for the new economy.


  • Leon Poeske, administrative director, Bucks County Technical High School
  • Darby Copeland, executive director, Parkway West Career and Technology Center
  • Jennifer Hain, administrative director, SUN Area Technology Center

Latest Retirement Issues and Trends for Pennsylvania School Districts

This roundtable discussion will cover a range of pertinent retirement-pension topics with a recently retired superintendent and retirement plan experts. Topics include PSERS (Public School Employees Retirement System) developments, PSERS reserve trusts, retiree healthcare and funding (OPEB), retirement/separation incentives for fiscal savings, innovative approaches to 403(b) plans, retirement demographics and preparing for workforce retirements.


  • Richard Fry, Executive Vice President, Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS)
  • Alan Wohlstetter, Attorney, Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy P.C.
  • Charles Francis, Senior School and Government Finance Consultant, Consultant

Children’s Behavioral Health

To combat the systemic increase in behavioral and mental health concerns in the regular education classroom, a partnership was formed between the United Way, Penn State, and local school districts to supply teachers with applicable, practical skills for student de-escalation techniques and reengagement strategies.


  • Peg Kopko, vice president, community impact, United Way of Lackawanna, and Wayne Counties
  • Janet Ann Melnick, Ph.D., MSW., LSW, professor, human development and child studies, Penn State Scranton Human Development and Family Studies Program
  • John Marichak, superintendent, Dunmore School District
  • Melissa Labuda, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor, human development and child studies, Penn State Scranton Human Development and Family Studies Program

Lessons from the Supreme Court’s Decision in B.L. v Mahanoy

With the most anticipated Supreme Court decision on student speech in decades hot off the presses, what has really changed? This session takes a deeper dive into what the Supreme Court’s decision in B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District means for district policies, codes of student conduct, and rules setting behavior conditions for participation in extracurricular activities.


  • Stuart Knade, chief legal officer, PSBA (Pennsylvania School Boards Association)
  • Linda Randby, senior director of legal services, PSBA

Tuesday, October 27th, 2021


Creating a Sustainable Professional Growth Model Using Instructional Coaches

This session will focus on how districts can develop and maintain ongoing professional growth through job-embedded instructional coaching. We will discuss the roles of instructional coaches and how instructional coaching leads to deeper learning and improved instructional practices. Finally, we will discuss creative ways to provide high-quality professional development.

Presenter: Kelly Murray, director of curriculum and instruction, Spring-Ford Area School District

Opportunity and Access: Blurring the Lines between K-12 and Postsecondary

The K-12+ partnership between Bloomsburg Area School District and Luzerne County Community College provides opportunity and access for our students to earn associate degrees in general studies, free of charge. This collaboration of district administration and union leadership creates multiple pathways for students to graduate with more than a tassel.


  • Donald Wheeler, superintendent, Bloomsburg Area School District
  • Rosana Reyes, vice president of enrollment management and student development, Luzerne County Community College
  • Melissa Day, director of K-12+ curriculum, Bloomsburg Area School District
  • Jerome Manley, principal of student engagement, Bloomsburg Area School District

State of the Economy – Current Economic Conditions in Unprecedented Times

This session focuses on past and current economic developments, the anticipated economic outlook and includes a discussion on short-term interest rates.


  • Chase Byler, vice president – senior relationship manager, PSDLAF (PA School District Liquid Asset Fund)
  • Pat Sable, school board director, South Park School District

Communicating Equity: How to Build Capacity in the Community

As districts develop equity-focused policies, practices, procedures, and initiatives, it is essential that they build capacity for the work among staff and students, but also with families and community. This session seeks to develop a strategy to communicate equity and equity programming effectively.

Presenter: Dr. Heather Bennett, director of equity services, PSBA

Strategic Planning in Public School Districts – Process and Procedure

Thinking about developing a strategic plan? This is the session for you. Strategic planning is a key factor in ensuring the success of an organization. This session will highlight how one district utilized the components of an effective strategic planning process to engage the community, teachers, administrators, parents, and students. Learn about the district’s challenges and opportunities with development and leave with resources to assist you as your district develops its strategic plan.

Presenter: Dr. Eric J. Becoats, superintendent, William Penn School District

Creating an Effective Elementary Digital Academy for Sustainability

Many school districts created an online Digital Academy program to meet the needs of students during the pandemic. Southern York created a learning module that utilized new teaching methods, schedules, asynchronous and synchronous learning modules, and staff to create a positive academic and social-emotional environment. Learn from our trials and tribulations as we discuss what went well and ways, we “failed forward,” to meet our students’ needs.


  • Chris Lucabaugh, Digital Academy teacher, Southern York County School District
  • Mark Finn, Digital Academy teacher, Southern York County School District
  • Heather Carrigan, Digital Academy teacher, Southern York County School District

Food for Thought: REACH Together as a School Community

Looking to REACH your school community by providing for families during challenging times? What began as a seed of hope has blossomed to aid students and families in need. Together, with community partnerships, your team can offer snack packs, food pantries, and Resources Enhancing All Children’s Health and happiness.


  • Lori Seier, director of food services, Parkland School District
  • Brian Barone, school psychologist, Springhouse Middle School, Parkland School District
  • Jude Sandt, principal, Springhouse Middle School, Parkland School District
  • Nicole McGalla, director of community relations and development, Parkland School District

Brick to Click CTW Transformation

Virtual career and technical education can be a viable option, provided leaders use a lens of equity in program planning. Learn about the process used by Lehigh Career & Technical Institute to design virtual courses in five traditional CTW programs for students who prefer to continue this learning style post-pandemic.


  • Dr. Thomas J. Rushton, executive director, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute
  • Dr. Lisa Greenawalt, director of curriculum and instruction, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute
  • Dipal Kapadia, director of information and educational technology, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute

Wednesday, October 28th, 2021


Another Empty Seat: The Disenfranchisement of Teacher Grief

After a student death, teachers strive to achieve an emotional balance in the classroom. Teacher grief is left undiscussed for the sake of the students and the community. It becomes disenfranchised and can have a detrimental effect on teachers’ personal lives, classroom management, work/life balance and more.

Presenter: Lori Berryman, high school English teacher, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Oley Valley School District

School Safety and Security Assessments – Updates from PCCD

We will review updates to the School Safety and Security Assessment Criteria, share information on how they can be used to address school safety and security in your school community, and provide general updates on school safety and security information for school entities.


  • Carol Kuntz, program manager, school safety, PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD)
  • Heather Masshardt, director of policy services, PSBA

Communicating Equity: How to Build Capacity in the Community

As districts develop equity-focused policies, practices, procedures, and initiatives, it is essential that they build capacity for the work among staff and students, but also with families and community. This session seeks to develop a strategy to communicate equity and equity programming effectively.

Presenter: Dr. Heather Bennett, director of equity services, PSBA

Rural Schools and Rural Solutions: Saint Francis University’s REAL Institute

Rural schools have unique needs that are often overlooked in both policy and the academic context. This session will explore the importance of rural education and why rural matters in the policy context. The REAL Institute at Saint Francis University explores these unique needs and offers opportunities for school leaders to focus on the importance of rural locale.


  • Melissa Peppetti, director of graduate education, Saint Francis University
  • Cassie Grassmyer, instructor, member of the REAL Institute, Saint Francis University

ESSER Funds and Transparency: Using Data to Support Strategic Decision-Making

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding has created both opportunities and challenges. Learn how one district has developed a data-based decision-making framework that is directly aligned with strategic initiatives, and how the district is employing financial data and multiyear financial planning to accomplish them with the use of ESSER, while also increasing transparency with key stakeholders.


  • Stan Wisler, strategic account advisor, Forecast5 Analytics, Inc.
  • Matthew M. Lentz, chief financial officer, board secretary, Title IX coordinator, Upper Moreland School District

Achieving Student-Centered Educational Design

Through the planning, design, and construction of capital maintenance projects to large-scale construction projects, we will discuss initiatives and lessons learned in Philadelphia. The presentation will review the new Solis-Cohen Elementary School completed in 2021 as an example of achieving a modern, efficient, and safe school within a budget.


  • Dr. Michelina Serianni, Solomon Solis-Cohen School principal, School District of Philadelphia
  • Jeff Straub, principal, senior project manager, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates

Communicating In A Time of Change: Connecting to Stakeholders, Responding to Crisis

District leaders and board members must rethink community engagement in a post-pandemic world. Nerves are frayed and the need for effective and mission-led communication is more important than ever. Hear from communication experts and district leaders about building communication capacity, engaging your community through proactive communication and managing crisis situations.


  • Liam Goldrick, partner, Donovan Group
  • Melissa Reese, communications manager, Allentown School District
  • Lucretia Brown, deputy superintendent for equity, accountability and school improvement, Allentown School District